Dan Phillips – Competing Wisdoms

The Bible is a very binary book. It does not wallow in greys and pastels, but sets out the grand issues in bold black-and-white terms that demand of us a commitment, a response, leaving us no place for dithering. Jesus famously said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). There is no middle ground!

Paul told the Corinthians that his commission from Christ was “to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void” (1 Corinthians 1:17). This message would be seen as folly to those lost in their sin, but welcomed as the power of God by those whom He is saving (1 Corinthians 1:18–19). Thus the “wisdom of the world” (1 Corinthians 1:20) is at loggerheads with the saving, Christ-centered, cross-centered “wisdom of God” (v. 21).

Paul sets up two competing wisdoms between which there can be no compromise. But he did not invent this state of affairs. In fact, this dichotomy goes back to nearly the beginning of Scripture. The first collision occurs in Genesis 3.

In Genesis 3, we witness the introduction of the world’s wisdom, as set forth by its first philosopher, Satan:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

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Dr. Andrew Snelling – Five Mass Extinctions or One Cataclysmic Event?

Many scientists claim the fossil record shows many mass extinctions separated by millions of years. Does the Bible give a better explanation?

Imagine relaxing at your dream vacation spot. Do you prefer a tropical forest, lush and humid, where fragrances from exotic flowers overwhelm your senses? Or a sandy coast, where the sun warms your skin and the palm trees sway? Or a secluded old-growth forest, where the only sound for miles around is a trickling brook?

Now add a triceratops splashing in the water, while a duck-billed dinosaur lazily chomps on a tasty conifer tree nearby. Overhead, a pterosaur glides toward its lair in the jagged cliffs.

What an amazing world we live in, and what an amazing world it once was! Fossils indicate that the earth has been covered with a wondrous array of environments in the past.

Then something happened. The earth’s rocks indicate that past catastrophes struck on a scale unlike anything we see today. The earth’s crust split open, belching toxic fumes into the sky and sending rivers of lava that swallowed up forests and everything else in their path.

The original continent also broke apart. The land rose and fell as the broken landmasses slid around and bashed into each other. A deluge of floodwaters battered the shallow seas and coasts, and then moved inland. Terrified animals roared and screamed, seeking safety but finding none.

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Phillip Bell – Standard Snake Evolution Story Stymied by Spate of Fossil Discoveries

Until early 2015, the ‘earliest’ date reported for a fossil snake was less than 100 Ma old. In January, a team led by University of Alberta (Canada) paleontologist Professor Michael Caldwell described fossils of four new species, in Nature Communications, which they claimed extended the snake fossil record backwards by about 70 Ma to the Middle Jurassic.

‘Earliest’ snake fossils

The new species reported were:

– Parviraptor estesi (from Dorset, England)—145–140 Ma
– Diablophis gilmorei (from Colorado, USA)—155 Ma
– Portugalophis lignites (from Guimarota, Portugal)—157–152 Ma
– Eophis underwoodi (from Oxfordshire, England)—167 Ma.

The skull anatomy of all four of these ‘ancient’ snakes, they say, is similar to that of both modern snakes and other fossil snakes. Of course, this is unexpected. However, the skull structure of previously reported fossil snakes, Pachyrhachis problematicus and Haasiophis terrasanctus, also surprised evolutionary researchers, resembling that of modern boas and pythons (deemed ‘advanced’).

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John MacArthur – The First Adam, the Last Adam, and the Gospel

Was Adam a Real Person?

The church has historically affirmed that Adam was a historical man, yet with the acceptance of evolutionary science, some now claim that this is not the case. Those who believe that the earth is millions or billions of years old will not accept that God fully formed the human Adam a few days after creating the universe. However, Genesis presents Adam as a real historical man, not the result of eons of evolution.

The simplest and most natural interpretation of Genesis 1 declares that God created the specific person Adam on the sixth day of creation. Genesis 2 then offers more detail on the creation of Adam and Eve. Adam’s connection with other historical persons supports the claim that he was indeed a specific person. Adam is the father of Cain, Abel, and Seth (Gen. 4:1–2, 25; 5:1–3). Adam is also said to have had conjugal relations with his wife Eve to bear Cain and Seth, and Genesis 5:3 further states that Adam fathered Seth at age 130. These details cannot be legitimately identified as poetic or figurative language describing something other than reality.

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Russell Grigg – Unfolding the Plan

Skeptics, liberals, and others sometimes claim that man’s concept of God is something which evolved, and that the Bible is merely man’s efforts to provide himself with a religious prop to explain the otherwise unexplainable or to ease the burden of life.1 However, nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible is a book from God about God, His glory, and His plan of salvation for sinful humanity.

When we read the Bible, we find that God does not tell us everything about these things all at once. He gives us successive revelations. A name for this is ‘progress of doctrine’, which simply means that we learn more about God and His dealings with us from each book, as we read through the Bible.

This concept can be likened to the raising of a blind in a dark room. Outside the sun is shining. As the blind goes up, it does not increase the amount of light emanating from the sun, but it does let more and more light into the room. Let us see how this works out with regard to four things that God tells us about Himself in Genesis, thus affirming the crucial nature of this foundational book.

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Dr. Andrew Snelling – Determination of the Decay Constants and Half-Lives of Uranium-238 (238U) and Uranium-235 (235U), and the Implications for U-Pb and Pb-Pb Radioisotope Dating Methodologies

Introduction

Radioisotope dating of rocks and meteorites is perhaps the most potent claimed proof for the supposed old age of the earth and the solar system. The absolute ages provided by the radioisotope dating methods provide an apparent aura of certainty to the claimed millions and billions of years for formation of the earth’s rocks. Many in both the scientific community and the general public around the world thus remain convinced of the earth’s claimed great antiquity.

However, accurate radioisotopic age determinations require that the decay constants of the respective parent radionuclides be accurately known and constant in time. Ideally, the uncertainty of the decay constants should be negligible compared to, or at least be commensurate with, the analytical uncertainties of the mass spectrometer measurements entering the radioisotope age calculations (Begemann et al. 2001). Clearly, based on the ongoing discussion in the conventional literature this is still not the case at present. The stunning improvements in the performance of mass spectrometers during the past four or so decades, starting with the landmark paper by Wasserburg et al. (1969), have not been accompanied by any comparable improvement in the accuracy of the decay constants (Begemann et al. 2001; Steiger and Jäger 1977), in spite of ongoing attempts (Miller 2012). The uncertainties associated with direct half-life determinations are, in most cases, still at the 1% level, which is still significantly better than any radioisotope method for determining the ages of rock formations. However, even uncertainties of only 1% in the half-lives lead to very significant discrepancies in the derived radioisotope ages. The recognition of an urgent need to improve the situation is not new (for example, Min et al. 2000; Renne, Karner, and Ludwig 1998). It continues to be mentioned, at one time or another, by every group active in geo- or cosmochronology (Schmitz 2012).

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Terry Mortenson – When Was Adam Created?

Introduction

When did Adam come into existence? Evolutionists say Homo sapiens came into existence 200,000 to 400,000 years ago (depending on which evolutionist you consult, because they do not all agree on what a Homo sapiens is). Can we harmonize that with the teaching of God’s Word? Today, many Christians, including many leaders and scholars, think they can.

From my reading and interaction with old-earth creationists of all varieties in 25 countries over the last 35 years, I think one reason many of them think they can harmonize the two is that they have not paid very careful attention to the relevant biblical texts. They have just assumed that the scientists have proven the age of the creation to be billions of years and the age of mankind to be many tens or hundreds of thousands of years. They often recite the mantra that “the Bible is not a science textbook” (thereby confusing the vital difference between origin science and operation science, as discussed in this book’s introduction). Therefore, it is claimed, the Bible does not deal with the issue of the age of mankind or even how man came into existence.

Another reason that a great many Christians think that the age of man and the universe does not matter and that the scientific establishment’s view does not conflict with Scripture is because they or their teachers have been influenced by William Henry Green.1 The famous Old Testament professor at Princeton Theological Seminary wrote an article in 1890 in which he argued that “the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 were not intended to be used, and cannot properly be used, for the construction of a chronology.”2 He concluded that “the Scriptures furnish no data for a chronological computation prior to the life of Abraham; and that the Mosaic records do not fix and were not intended to fix the precise date either of the Flood or of the creation of the world.”3 In other words, Green contended, the Bible is silent about the age of man and also the age of the earth and universe, so scientists are free to determine these ages according to the scientific evidence, and Christians need not reject or fear any date so determined.

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Thomas Fretwell – ‘Prehistoric’ Preachers: Dinosaurs as “The Gateway Drug to Atheism”: What is Their Real Message?

Dinosaurs have the power to captivate audiences, both young and old. They have fuelled people’s imaginations for generations. The veil of mystery surrounding them only adds to the intrigue. Where did the great beasts come from? Why did they go extinct? Such questions fuel the passion of a million would-be paleontologists still under the age of ten! It is no overstatement to say that almost every child, and adult for that matter, has heard of the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex. Hollywood has cashed in on the public’s fascination with dinosaurs over the years, producing the Jurassic Park franchise. The most recent instalment, Jurassic World, was released in 2015. In addition to this, multiple documentaries and cartoons exist making use of the best CGI to bring the message of these ‘Prehistoric Preachers’ to a new generation.

Given their popularity, it is important to understand the message being communicated through these fascinating creatures. In an interview for the Huffington Post, David Krentz, the character designer for the 2014 big-budget 3D movie Walking with Dinosaurs, commented that,

“I have always said that dinosaurs are the gateway drug to science for kids.”

The thing about gateway drugs is that they lead to something else, in this case ‘science’. In this context, the term is clearly referring to a naturalistic interpretation of science—concerning events that happened in the past—not the observational science done in laboratories today. One blogger, writing for The Meaning Without God Project, phrases it even more candidly:

“Dinosaurs were my gateway drug to Atheism. And while I was still six or seven years away from reaching the conclusion that God either didn’t care about us or didn’t exist, the Dinosaurs had shared an important secret—that the Bible can be wrong.”

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Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell – One Small Step for DNA, One Giant Leap for Man’s Brain

Have scientists discovered the typo that tipped the human brain into the big time?

The human brain is triple the size of a chimpanzee’s. If we share a common ancestor, as evolutionists confidently maintain, then how did our brains leap so far ahead in size and capability? Evolutionary scientists believe they have finally found, in our DNA, the springboard for that massive evolutionary step.

The Gene for Big Brains

Scientists, led by Max Planck Institute’s Wieland Huttner, have identified a gene that triggers a human embryo to grow the vast supply of brain cells that largely forms the foundation for our braininess. The same gene is found in modern humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans. Called ARHGAP11B, Huttner says this is “the first human-specific gene where we could show that it contributes to the pool of basal brain stem cells and can trigger a folding of the neocortex. In that way, we managed to take the next step in tracing evolution.”

Searching for the link between this human gene and the genes of our supposed ape cousins, Marta Florio and colleagues on a team led by Huttner report in Science Advances that the nucleotide sequence in human-specific ARHGAP11B differs from a similar gene in apes by just one nucleotide. A nucleotide is the equivalent of a letter in the genetic language. That difference in spelling might well be the genetic basis for one of the greatest physical differences between apes and humans.

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Raymond Ortlund, Jr. – The Importance of Recapturing Biblical Marriage

Marriage and the Gospel

Reclaiming the biblical meaning of marriage in our culture today matters because the darkness of our generation is deep and profound. And if we lose the biblical meaning of marriage the darkness will become complete.

Marriage bespeaks the gospel itself. So to be clear about marriage, and to live out in our marriages (imperfectly but visibly) something of the dying love of Christ for his bride and her joyful surrender to him—this is vital. People who will never go to church and may never hear the gospel will see the gospel in our marriages and the light will shine, even in this generation.

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